January 23, 2022

Illinois: Smaller Libraries Coping with Less State Support, Consolidations

From The Pantagraph:

The consolidation of downstate library systems into the Illinois Heartland Library System (IHLS) and RAILS happened at the same time a downward trend in funding and staffing continued. The cuts began when the huge IHLS — with more than 400 libraries, covering all of southern Illinois — was still four separate entities. During the 2001 fiscal year, the four systems collectively had capital grants of $4.8 million, according to figures provided by IHLS Executive Director Leslie Bednar.

The fiscal 2012 budget, the first for the combined system, reflects the lowest grant level the system has seen in the past 10 years, $3.3 million.

“The cash flow, or lack of it, is what really led (to consolidation) — that and this fear that more services would get cut at the state level,” Bednar said. “It was getting a little dicey for some.”

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.